Posted by Sarah » 5 Comments »
Jami Rodriguez jewelry demonstrates bad numismatics (click to see larger)
It seems as though jewelry designers like using ancient coinage as inspiration for their pieces, but aren’t as concerned about the accuracy of the description on the websites that sell them. In Bad Jewelry Latin (well, History), I discussed a ring that was described as depicting Caesar, but was clearly actually a coin depicting Alexander the Great. In this instance, the sample sale website Billion Dollar Babes calls this item “Goddess Bangles” and describes them as “14k Gold Filled Bangles with Gold Goddess Coin.”
Unfortunately, though the coin is purported to depict a “goddess,” it is immediately recognizable to those who study numismatics as the obverse of the coinage of Rhodes, which was unique among the major producers of coinage for using a 3/4 face instead of the more common full profile for much of their coinage. This face is of course no “goddess,” but the god Helios, a god so important to Rhodes that they commissioned a monumental statue of him, the Colossus of Rhodes, to overlook the city. Here is a nice image of the coin that is being recreated on the bracelet. Note the reverse image, the distinctive Rhodian rose.
Those familiar with ancient iconography can probably tell that the image depicts a youthful god, even without knowing the Rhodian coin. The CAMPVS’s own Dennis, who doesn’t have the same training in numismatics as I, guessed that the coin might depict Apollo, but hadn’t even considered a goddess. If only the people that write these descriptions of coins had some sort of classical training, or consulted someone who does, when their pieces draw on ancient iconographical traditions, then perhaps this sort of error wouldn’t keep occuring.
Posted by Dennis » 5 Comments »
Tell me you wouldn’t want to see a baby in this:
It was Sarah’s idea, as our baby is due any week now. I drew little Herakles yesterday afternoon and uploaded the image last night.
The following is only tangentially Classics-related, but we’re also big fans of science and science-based medicine (which is also the name of a great blog), and so we wanted our baby to have a pro-vaccination shirt. The Classical connection is the owl, which I drew just the other day. We’ll pretend it’s Athena’s. There are two versions, depending on your language preference:
Both shirts feature the owl holding a sign which reads “Be wise!” The American version then says “Immunize!”
This version instead reads “Immunise!”
Both end with the line “vaccines save lives.”
Posted by Sarah » 3 Comments »
I’m sure by now many of you have heard the news about the 52,000 coin hoard found in Britain by using a metal detector. For my part, I’d like to thank Patrick Callahan of Fordham for drawing the story to my attention. A rather thorough article on the find can be found here. Like many who are discussing this story, I want to draw attention to the integrity of Dave Crisp, who when he realized as he dug that he had found a substantial find, reported it to the authorities. The hoard was then able to be excavated by professionals who may consequently be able to learn much about the little-understood 3rd c. AD in Britain, when Carausius usurped power and began to mint coins under his name at the London mint. He was quite busy at this during his 7 years in power, as you can see by browsing his page at Wildwinds.com.
Debates flair up occasionally but passionately about whether coins ought to be included in trade and sale bans, as in the Cypriot ban of 2007, discussed by me here. Soon after the ban, several coin collecting organizations sued the State Department for details about the decision. This New York Times article says of the ban, “It was the first time the government had barred trade in a broad category of ancient coins, and collectors and dealers were surprised. Archaeologists, who often use coins to help them date finds, supported that ban on the grounds that treasure hunters using metal detectors to search for coins frequently damage significant sites.” Mr. Crisp proves that “treasure hunters using metal detectors” can be a valuable ally for archaeological discovery, provided that they report their finds appropriately. Articles on the the story all suggest that he will be rewarded financially for his discovery, splitting the reward with the owner of the land on which the coins were found. This is an incentive for those who may think they would only profit from a similar discovery through private sale (as on eBay, where a quick search turns up many ancient coins claimed to be from British hoards). Along with his financial gain (and even without it), Dave Crisp has a small place in the annals of archaeological discovery, which is pretty cool in its own right.
UPDATE: Thanks to Classicists on Twitter, I can now link to some more great information on the hoard. Constantina Katsari (c_katsari) linked to this great article on the hoard, with details about the excavation and the coins found therein, and this link includes tons of pictures. Terrence Lockyer (TLockyer) tweeted this BBC interview video on the hoard. While I’m on the subject of twitter, the Campvs’s own Dennis is on Twitter (dmmch), and his tweets include links to new blog posts.